Today, Deputy Secretary Thomas R. Nides briefed the press on the Fiscal Year 2012 budget for the State Department and USAID. Deputy Secretary Nides said, "...I am pleased to present the 2012 budget for the Department of State and USAID. We're here to discuss with just one percent of the federal budget, how State and USAID prevents conflicts abroad, promotes prosperity at home, and delivers real results for the American people, and more importantly, how State Department and the USAID advance our national security.
"In the private sector, we often talk about ROI, a return on investment. From countering extremism in Yemen, to serving alongside our troops, to training...police force, what we do is critical to our national security. With an investment of just one percent of the federal budget, the men and women of the State Department and the USAID deliver remarkable returns.
"We recognize this request comes in difficult budgetary assignment and environment. This is a lean budget for lean times. We have made painful but responsible choices. We've scrubbed the entire budget for savings. We've eliminated foreign assistance and programs in several countries. We've reduced development assistance by over half in 20 others. We've cut funding in Europe and Eurasia by 15 percent. We've even managed to identify over $100 million in administrative savings through more efficient travel and procurement.
"In the wake of the first Quadrennial Development & Diplomacy Review, better known as the QDDR, we've aggressively sought to find new efficiencies and to change the way we do business. The QDDR recommends that we move forward on an integrated national security budget. This budget represents our assessment of the funding we need to use civilian power to advance America's security and accomplish our mission -- no more and no less.
"This year, for the first time, our request is divided into two parts. The first part is very familiar to all of you. It's our core budget. It's our foreign assistance and operations budget. This represents our ongoing investment to advance American security and economic interests. It supports our presence in about every nation in the world. Our core budget request for 2012 is $47 billion.
"The second part is our extraordinary temporary costs in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as our civilian employees take on more responsibilities. For the first time, OMB is presenting our war funding as they do with the Department of Defense, in a separate account called OCO, Overseas Contingency Operations. This will allow for a full transparency and a unified approach for the costs we believe are not part of our core budget. The State and USAID OCO request for 2012 is $8.7 billion...."
The Deputy Secretary continued, "Our core 2012 request of $47 billion supports our diplomatic and development experts in 190 countries. It represents a 1 percent increase over our comparable 2010 levels, less than the rate of inflation. And make no mistake -- even without the extraordinary war costs, the core budget is part of the U.S. Government's national security budget. It stabilizes conflict zones, it reduces the threat of nuclear weapons, it restores old alliances, it supports democratic transitions, it counters extremism, it opens global markets, and it protects citizens abroad.
"It accomplishes this by investing in four principle areas. First, we devote 23 percent or $11 billion of our $47 billion core budget to prevent conflict, foster economic security, and support fragile states. As we all know, this is a complex and interconnected and fast-changing world. We need the capacity to prevent conflicts and stabilize fragile states.
"For an example, this money funds development, humanitarian and military efforts in Yemen and Somalia. We're working to prevent these countries from becoming safe havens for terrorists. It supports intensive American diplomacy in Sudan, where the government peacefully accepted a vote many said would lead to war. And it sustains peacekeeping missions all over the world. And it funds non-war-related economic assistance to the frontline states of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
"Second, we spend 16 percent or approximately $7.4 billion of the $47 billion of our core budget to keep -- to support key allies and partners. This includes over $3 billion for Israel and a strong support for West Bank and Jordan. It funds support for nations recovering from conflicts like Liberia and emerging partners like Indonesia. It funds military-to-military partnerships in over 70 countries, and in Egypt, it gives us the funds to respond as situations evolve.
"Third, we invest 31 percent or approximately $14.6 billion of the $47 billion of our core budget to advance human security. We have targeted disease, hunger, and climate change. These challenges not only threaten the security of individuals across the world; they plant seeds for future conflict. We invest $8.7 billion in the global health programs. This includes money to fund treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS through the continued support of the Bush Administration's PEPFAR program. And it funds our fight against malaria and tuberculosis.
"We're investing over a billion one in food security, another cornerstone of global security, and $650 million to respond to climate change. These are two whole-of-government efforts against serious and growing threats. This budget also reflects $4 billion in humanitarian assistance for victims of war, refugees, and survivors of natural disasters.
"Fourth and finally, we spend 30 percent or approximately $14 billion of our $47 billion core budget to strengthen and sustain our diplomatic and development presence. We fly the flag at embassies and consulates in 190 countries. In each of these countries, we are serving Americans, advancing our security and promoting our economic interests. Our political officers work with foreign governments and monitor elections and promote democracies and human rights. Our economic officers open markets, promote U.S. exports, and champion American companies. Our development officers are improving lives and driving growth.
"And since taking this job, I've learned just how much our consular officers do to help the American people. Last year, they issued 14 million passports and assisted in 11,000 inter-country adoptions. And I was amazed to learn that they worked on over a thousand, 1,100 new child abduction cases, which actually helped to return 485 children to their parents. However, we remain severely understaffed, so we're asking for just a 1 percent increase in the State Department's Foreign Services officers."
Deputy Secretary Nides concluded, "...We recognize, as these are exceptionally tight times, with the resources outlined in this budget, the State Department and USAID can continue to protect our interests, project our values, promote growth, and above all, serve our national security."
Read the Deputy Secretary's full remarks here.